Category Archives: Business

There’s no doubting the importance of an Internet presence for retailers. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar site, having a virtual space allows you to keep selling even after-hours and generate high volumes of profit while avoiding massive inventory and capital costs. Nonetheless, the added competition from retailers around the world, all of whom only have to visit your website in order to scope out your prices, selection, quality and branding means that you need an effective marketing plan. In this article, we will look at steps you can implement to build your strategies.

1. Include Product Reviews

Consumers want to know what a product offers, but they also want to know that it lives up to the promise made in the product copy. You can talk up the product all you want, but the real measure of usefulness and quality comes from past buyers. Ask them to share their thoughts and opinions—even the bad ones—right on the product page. Studies have shown that reviews from past buyers will increase the chances of future sales of those products.

Encourage buyers to post their own reviews, and if this is a new feature on your site, consider offering rewards points or another incentive for sharing their opinions. However, don’t attempt to incentivize positive reviews—simply encourage them to share honest opinions.

2. Optimize Your Site

Although some online shoppers have favorite stores that they visit directly, most prefer to use search engines like Google to find specific products. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can help your pages rank higher in search results, and reach more of these shoppers as a result. If you’re not that tech-savvy, there are plenty of companies like Linkeo Ltd that can handle this side of things for you.

online sales 2

3. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Depending on how competitive your industry is, it can be difficult to rank well organically for certain keywords—especially in the first few months of your strategy. However, you can use PPC platforms like Google AdWords to place advertisements beside or above the results for specific keywords.

Placing ads for these keywords can be a great way to reach customers while you build your SEO strategy, and even after you rank organically. You can also use AdWords to advertise on other sites within Google’s Display network.

4. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

While describing what a product can do is important, most people want to know what that product can do FOR THEM. When describing your products, focus less on the features and more on the benefits. For instance, what makes your winter coat better than any other coat that is designed to keep you warm in winter. It could be that the fabric is easier to clean, or that it can be worn to formal and casual events. Whatever it is, make that benefit a selling point in your copy.

5. Enable Mobile Shopping

More and more everyday activities are getting done using mobile devices, including shopping. According to one study, 40 percent of online sales are now made on mobile devices. This means that if your site isn’t already responsive to mobile shopping, now’s the time to change that. Responsive design ensures that your site displays and functions properly on all browsers and screen sizes.

In addition to that, you may also choose to run mobile-specific ads on certain platforms. Facebook, in particular, offers the option to only show ads to mobile users, which can be helpful in directing them to apps and product pages.

Want to Increase Your Online Retail Store’s Revenue?

Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store with an online component, Internet marketing can be extremely effective in generating sales and revenue. If you’re ready to start using SEO, PPC, social media, and other strategies to grow your business, we can help with our Deliver by Linkeo platform.

Our experienced team of Internet marketers can use all of the above strategies and more to help your business reach more customers. Contact us today to speak with an expert!

In today’s world, it is pretty impossible not to know the essence of advertising, especially when you’ve got the responsibility of a company on your shoulders.

So, today we’ll start by exploring the different media used in advertising to disseminate messages that companies want the public to grasp.

Different Modes of Advertising

There are a vast number of options on how a company can get its message across to its market and they can be categorized as follows:

• Above the line

• Below the line

• Through the line

• Online

Above the Line Advertising (ATL):

Above the Line Advertising (ATL):

Above the line advertising is a technique used to communicate to the mass, thus the term mass media. When a client wants to reach the population at large for a nationwide campaign, the agency must go for ATL channels. If you take Toblerone, for example, it is a very famous chocolate brand appreciated by people all around the world, irrespective of age group. Suppose if Toblerone has added new flavors in its product line. To make the population aware of it, they will use a combination of billboards placed in various regions, newspapers (all the newspapers with highest readerships, of course) and magazine adverts. They will also use and radio channels to spread their message. The list of ATL modes are:

• TV

• Radio

• Outdoor (Billboards, buses, bus shelters, waste bins, posters, signs)

• Magazines

• Cinema

• Newspaper

Now, let’s examine some benefits and drawbacks of these modes.

1. Newspaper

Advantages:

  • With newspapers, you have a potentially large coverage area. Newspapers are published on a daily basis. One can also choose to advertise in different newspapers to cover maximum potential consumers.
  • Flexibility – you can choose the size of the ad you want to publish thus, you control your budget.
  • Access to many socio-economic groups
  • Visibility of the product – that is, through pictures

Disadvantages:

  • The print quality of newspapers isn’t always the best, especially for photographs.
  • Short shelf life. Right a day after a newspaper is published, it becomes history.

2. Radio

Advantages:

  • A universal medium. It can be enjoyed at home, at work, and while driving.
  • Multiple exposures. The audience gets to hear the advert several times. The bigger your budget, the more times you can air your ad.
  • Possible high entertainment value of the ad. Can be creative with sound effects or well-written script.

Disadvantages:

  • Listeners will never be able to refer back to your ads to go over important points.
  • Radio is claimed to be a mere background medium meaning that most listeners are doing something else while listening.
  • Members of the audience often switch to other channels when ads are aired.

3. TV

Advantages:

  • Allows you to reach great numbers of people on a national or regional level.
  • Uses both visual and auditory stimulants.

Disadvantages:

  • Can lead to high creative and production costs.
  • Most ads are ten or thirty seconds long, which limits the amount of information you can communicate.

Below the Line (BTL):

Below the Line (BTL)

On the other hand, Below the line strategy concerns promotional activities where the business has direct control over the target or intended audience.

Let me propose another example. Suppose company A is a new company that sells boats, from the entry-level inflatable models to high end fully equipped spacious speed boats. This type of product is not meant for the general population since the price range might be exceeding what an average individual can afford.

For such a product, an advertising agency would advise to communicate essentially to the targeted audience by designing and printing catalogs, brochures, send direct mailings to selected targets and in specific regions such as those living in the north to the west coast. Budget wise it makes more sense and the message is more relevant to the niche market. There are many methods of below the line advertising, including:

• Sales promotions

• Direct marketing (Brochures, newsletters, flyers, direct mail)

• In store promotion (banners, display stand in supermarkets)

• Personal selling

• Sponsorship

If you want to learn more about through the line and online advertising techniques, stay tuned for part 2.

You might have heard about the use of air compressors behind the scenes of the production of your vehicle.

But, ever wondered what could compressed air do more?

Playing a critical role in today’s society, you’d be surprised at the extent how some industries depend on air compressors.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

The Pharmaceutical Industry

The wider picture of the pharmaceutical industry involves more than developing potential cures and lifesaving treatments.

As the sine qua non of today’s society, one infected with a cunning virus that’s no match for the human race, a trace of contaminant can lead to hazardous products exposing mankind to much danger.

So, the use of air compressors in the pharmaceutical industry stems from their abilities to ensure precision and cleanliness.

Pneumatic tools are used by professionals for the following:

  • Tablet Production and Coating:

Compressed air is used by laboratory experts to allocate tablets’ ingredients as per their respective formulas and de-dust them. The coating of medicines also requires compressed air.

  • Product Packaging and Bottling:

Even the packaging and bottling of medicines rely on compressed air.

  • Aseptic Applications:

Pharmaceutical facilities now make use of one type of air compressor of the very highest quality, known as oil-free compressors. As a sterile air provider, oil-injected compressors are widely used to reduce the risk of any oil contamination which can compromise the priorities of the industry.

The Agricultural Industry

The Agricultural Industry

We’ve always been hearing how the emergence of the services industry and the full development of the power of AI have led to people bypassing the agricultural industry. As if the agricultural sector was not already spinning for the Covid-19 pandemic to add a new type of crisis on its shoulder.

Fortunately, it is a very robust industry, withstanding the devastating challenges of the world economy.

Farmers today can testify how modern technology is the driving force behind the success of the agricultural industry that generates approximately 2 trillion in revenue worldwide. And, one such technological and professional element behind the increase in food production is air compressors.

Air compressors are usually used in the irrigation of crops, water production, fertilizer and pesticide sprayers, operation of dairy machines, ventilation of greenhouses and inflation of tractor tires.

However, when it comes to the agricultural industry, farmers can only expect a tough compressor with the ability to last longer than others given its extensive usage and potential risk of overheating.

Choosing these types of air compressors doesn’t have to be a difficult process only if you trust the team of experts at Promptair & Electrical Pty Ltd.

The Woodworking Industry

The Woodworking Industry

Let me elaborate a bit.

Compared to traditional woodworking techniques, new and advanced tools have redefined the industry, making it all green and growing.

With the whole idea of creating a more sustainable environment, the woodworking sector has greatly bloomed to become a significant contributor to the global economy, expected to reach a market value of nearly $275.2 billion by 2022.

So, what’s the role of air compressors in this industry?

  • Air compressors can highly increase the efficiency and capability of woodworking manufacturing equipment and tools like drills, nail guns, stain guns, angle wrenches, pulse tools, die grinders and many others.
  • Compressed air is further used to secure pieces of furniture together.
  • Since moving and sorting huge loads of lumber form part of the woodworking industry, compressed air also comes in handy for this task.
  • Air compressors are also used to cut lumber at precise measurements.
  • Using compressed air for coasting wooden surfaces with varnish or finish has been woodworking professionals’ choice for years now.
  • Compressed air is an added benefit when nails need to be inserted automatically.

 

No matter the type of industry you are in, if you are looking for high-quality air compressors, you need to give Promptair & Electrical Pty Ltd a call.

 

 

 

 

In need of some organization at your restaurant? Keeping track of your guests and maximizing table turnover is essential for running day-to-day operations at your restaurant smoothly. Using a reservation system is a great way to properly manage tables and allows customers to call ahead and save themselves a spot at your busy establishment. If you’re looking to improve efficiency at your restaurant, implementing a reservation system can help sort out any confusion between hosts and customers. And it can even show your business’s daily traffic, allowing you to get a clear picture of sales and profits.

However, if your restaurant’s reservation system is poorly managed, it can cause several issues between customers and your employees. If you don’t properly keep track of your reservations, it can lead to empty tables, dissatisfied guests, and a loss in profits. This articles will look at why a well-maintained online booking system is the best answer for your business.

Although using a pen and paper to jot down customers’ reservations was how reservations systems first started, the handwritten form has since been replaced with more innovative and efficient digital options. Handwriting reservations can be time-consuming for hostesses and leave room for error.

If you currently have a handwritten reservation system in place, consider making the switch to an online reservation management system. There are several digital options available for keeping track of your guest’s seating arrangements so you can find what works best for your business. Some of these include:

online booking1

Third Party Reservation Platforms: Using a third-party reservation system is great for boosting visibility and gaining new customers. The main purpose of third-party reservation apps are for guests to make reservations at your restaurant. However, these apps are also ideal for promoting your establishment to potential customers browsing to make a reservation.

Depending on the digital reservation platform you use, your guests can specify the time, number of people, location, and occasion their reservation is for. These kinds of systems do have a monthly fee and not all reservation apps have the same features, so make sure to do some research before settling on a platform for your restaurant.

Online Reservation Platforms: If you prefer to keep track of your digital reservations in-house, setting up an online reservation system on your restaurant’s website is a great way to manage your reservations. Online reservation systems are ideal for establishments with customers who are familiar with your business’s website or social media platforms.

Incorporating a reservation system into your website provides guests with an easy way to reserve a table at your establishment without having to use a third-party app. For restaurateurs, placing a reservation system on your website eliminates any third-party fees. They allow you to customize any desired features in your system while making it simple for your employees to learn and use.

Click-to-Call: Click-to-call systems are perfect for restaurants looking to boost their sales and traffic through online reservations, without the promotion of a third-party platform or website. These kinds of reservation systems work by implementing a click-to-call feature onto the search results of your restaurant’s page. Click-to-call reservation systems are by far the most accessible for customers and great for those making last-minute reservations. Deliver by Linkeo works as both an online reservation platform and a click-to-call app.

How To Use A Reservation System At Your Restaurant

Once you’ve chosen a restaurant reservation system to use, you must instruct your employees on how to properly run and use your new management system. Although each reservation system has its own differentiating features, below are 5 general rules to follow in order to smoothly manage customers’ reservations and seating arrangements.

  • Instruct your staff to separate reservations from walk-in customers. Hostesses should seat walk-in guests and customers that have made reservations in different sections. This will help keep your establishment organized and prevent confusion when seating customers.

  • Take into account that larger parties take up more time. If a large party makes a reservation, they will more than likely spend more time at your restaurant than a smaller group. Ask hostesses to avoid overbooking large parties, and instead space out reservations for large groups.

  • Stay organized to avoid double booking. Your customers will be extremely upset if they arrive at your restaurant and find that their table is occupied by other diners. To avoid this, make sure your employees are closely keeping track of all reservations by day and time.

  • Remind guests of their reservations. Depending on how far ahead a customer is reserving a table, it’s best to remind customers of their dining arrangements a week, day, or up to an hour before their scheduled reservation. That way, hostesses can keep track of guests and eliminate any no-shows.

  • Follow good hospitality practices. Even if all dining reservations have been made over the phone or online, it’s still important to have a friendly face at the front of your restaurant. Be ready to solve any problems your customers may have as they enter your establishment.

online booking3

Why Your Restaurant Should Use A Reservation System

A restaurant reservation system is great for creating efficiency and organization at your establishment. Customers will find the improvement or addition of your reservation system extremely helpful when dining at your restaurant which can encourage them to make future reservations. For hostesses struggling to keep track of customers, a reservation system could help clear up any issues and keep reservations all in one place.

Using digital systems allows for easy online advertising of your restaurant which helps attract new customers. If you’re looking to boost traffic to your business, using an online reservation system can help promote your restaurant while providing an easy way for customers to reserve a table. As a restaurant owner, you are probably looking for the best way to analyse your sales, and a reservation system is a great way to measure daily sales and table turnover. Call the experts at Linkeo Ltd to learn more about our products.

Be it a business presentation, an exam, a musical competition or a negotiation, the key to success, if not perfection, is preparation.

Going in the same flow as the first article, let’s dive into the second stage of preparing for a negotiation.

The Second Stage of Preparation

3. Assess the Process Issues

You need to anticipate and plan for any issue in the process of negotiation. And, the main areas consist of setting up the meeting and the negotiation meeting itself.

1. Let’s Talk About Setting up the Meeting
Let’s Talk About Setting up the Meeting

  • Venue:

     

    It is critical that the most appropriate venue is chosen for holding the meeting. The location of the meeting has a huge impact on the bargaining power of any party involved in the negotiation. At times, I’d say it’s even best to hold the meeting in a neutral place so as to avoid any apprehension about the unfair advantage to the host of the meeting.

     

  • Timing:

     

    The timing of the meeting refers to two things: first, the clock time at which the meeting for negotiation will be held and secondly, the space between any two meetings.

     

    Would you prefer to hold the meeting in the morning, the afternoon or even late afternoon? When next should the next meeting be set? Does it have to be within a short period of time? Or, a longer timespan between the two meetings is more appropriate?

     

  • Agenda:

     

    What are the items that would be taken up at the negotiation meeting? In which order would the items be discussed?

     

    You need to set the agenda in collaboration with the other party. This will serve as a rapport-building activity ahead of the meeting itself.

2. Next, Comes the Phase Where Negotiation Will Be Soon on the Table
Next, Comes the Phase Where Negotiation Will Be Soon on the Table

  • Rapport Building:

     

    This is when personal introductions are made and the main objectives of the meeting should be established. Here, you can grant the other party to start raising a few points or concerns.

     

  • Information sharing:

     

    Giving a brief summary of background information is not compulsory but relevant in most cases.

     

    What’s crucial is the outlining of the meeting agenda.

     

    Make sure to remember that at this stage, decision-making should be attributed to those with a high level of authority.

3. Time for Opening up a negotiation
Time for Opening up a negotiation

When you have set the scene, the next stage of the negotiation is for all the parties to put their interests on the negotiating table. This is crucial, but you will have to make a judgment about who states their position first. In some circumstances, it will be obvious – for example, if an employee is negotiating a salary increase with his boss, it would probably be appropriate for the employee to open up. Sometimes, however, the employee might need some information from his boss first, so even this type of negotiation needs careful thought.

What are some do’s and dont’s during this stage?

Do’s:

  • Listen well
  • Use open questions
  • Check that you understand clearly the other person’s position
  • Summarise
  • Withhold judgment

Dont’s:

  • Interrupt
  • Immediately put down the other person’s position
  • Reveal all your negotiating points and strategies

4. While Conducting the Negotiation
While Conducting the Negotiation

This stage covers exploring solutions, bargaining, identifying gains and concessions and finding common ground.

  • Explore solutions

     

Once you’ve heard the other person’s position and interests, it is important to spend some time exploring the position further so that you become clearer about where you both stand and can begin to identify common ground and potential sticking points. Don’t rush this stage, because it can reveal important information, particularly what may underlie a particular proposal.

During the negotiating process, it is more helpful to think in terms of ‘different’ than in terms of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.”

5. Reaching an Agreement

Reaching an Agreement

When you reach the agreement phase, you need to ensure that all points have been covered.

Ever engaged in a negotiation? Why don’t you share the experience with us in the comment section below?

Preparation is of paramount importance.

Even the great Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, I will spend at least 4 hours sharpening the ax.”

This perfectly depicts the importance of preparation before indulging in any activity.

Time to take a look at some crucial elements involved in the preparation phase of a negotiation.

What Are the Three Key Areas for Which You Need Preparation?

What Are the Three Key Areas for Which You Need Preparation?

  • People: Negotiation takes place between people, so it’s important for one to identify and assess people’s issues.
  • Purpose: The final outcome of a negotiation is a mutually satisfying agreement between two or more parties. It is critical to state clearly the aims of the negotiation. You need also to assess issues such as the interests of each party and the critical points on which both parties will seek agreement.
  • Process: In order to ensure a smooth interaction between the negotiating parties, you will need to clarify and agree on specific steps.

How to Prepare for a Negotiation?

How to Prepare for a Negotiation?

 1. Assess the People Issues: 

You need to reflect upon the relationship with your superior, the negotiating parties involved and other stakeholders’ interest in the negotiation. It is obvious that a positive relationship with any of the parties mentioned above will only facilitate the process of negotiation.

Relationship With Superior

It is important to know about the leeway that you have in the negotiation. You will be complying with the instructions received from your superior. You need to know the limits within which you can make commitments on behalf of your organization.

Similarly, you need also to analyze the relationship of the other party with their superior. They will be working under the instructions of their superior. You need to identify the extent to which they have the authority to make commitments on behalf of their organization.

This will enable you to know the items on which agreement may be reached.

Relationship Between Negotiators

You will need to know about the relationship between your organization and that of the negotiating party. Is there a history? Did the two organizations work together before? Is there any issue that cropped up in the past: for example, has there been any complaint about the quality of service or product, delay in delivery or payment?

Relationship With Other Stakeholders

What is observed nowadays is that negotiation does not happen only between the parties directly involved in the process. There are many other institutions that have a stake in the negotiation, for example, the suppliers or the banks.

The other stakeholders will have an influence on the negotiation process. They have agreed to work with your organization on certain terms and conditions that exert a limit on the flexibility you may wish to have during negotiation. For example, an overdraft limit may be a constraint in placing an order even though at a competitive price.

These issues are similarly faced by the other side in the negotiation. So you need to explore any such issue and expectations of the other stakeholders. This will allow you to assess the potential impact it may have on the negotiation. The overarching objective will be to satisfy the requirements of other stakeholders so as to have the most conducive environment when executing on the agreement between you and your counterparty.

2. Assess the Purpose Issues:

Assess the Purpose Issues

It’s crucial to be crystal-clear about the objective of the negotiation. What is it that you want to achieve? Is the goal to sell your house? Or is it for the rental of a building?

Being clear about the purpose of the negotiation will enable you to identify your interests as well as those of the other side in the negotiation. This will help you in establishing your ‘wish-want-walk’ objectives.

Imagine the purpose is to sell your car. Your ‘wish’ objective is the reasonable highest price at which you would wish to sell your car. On the other extreme will be your ‘walk-away price, that is, the lowest price below which you will not sell your car. You will prefer to ‘walk away’ rather than accept a lower price. The ‘want’ price is the target price at which you will aim to sell your car. This is in between the ‘wish’ and ’walk-away price.

It is important for you to determine your ‘wish-want-walk’ price and estimate the ‘wish-want-walk’ price of the other side. This will enable you to negotiate with more leverage.

If you want to learn about the remaining stages involved in the preparation phase of a negotiation, wait for the second part of this series.

You’ve been planning and working on that home remodelling project for months.

Painters, electricians and plumbers were hired and you have already bought your new pieces of furniture. But, who will assemble the furniture?

Furniture assembly is a quite complicated job and if wrongly assembled, it can pose a huge danger. Therefore, the only solution left is to hire a furniture assembly company. And, here are some reasons why these professionals are worth your time and money.

#1. Saves Precious Time

stool assembly | Stool components being assembled during a w… | Flickr

At first glance, furniture assembly might seem as though it will only take a short amount of time. That’s until you open the disassembled furniture.

I don’t know why, but people often grossly underestimate the amount of time they will need to assemble a piece of furniture fully. And the result: they can spend nearly the whole day learning about how to assemble a piece of furniture from the installation guide but still unable to do it properly.

Now, honestly speaking (and logically also), don’t you think it’s more beneficial to hire someone who can assemble your furniture within two hours rather than wasting your entire day (or sometimes even more than one day) on it?

If you really value your time (and we all know that time is money), you would offload the work to Best Furniture Assembly Pty Ltd, which can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Plus, the longer you let that piece of furniture lie in any area of your house, the higher the chances of someone tripping over it and getting seriously injured in the process.

#2. They Have the Right Tools

Tools for furniture assembly | Another Saturday means more f… | Flickr

When was the last time you tried to assemble a piece of furniture? Do you remember wasting time just to look for the proper screwdriver?

One helpful rule of thumb when doing such works is to always use the right tool for the right purpose. For example, don’t tell me you are going to use a brick or washing brush to drive in a nail into furniture.

Therefore, if you don’t want to make several trips to the store to buy tools that you most probably won’t use again, it is better to trust an expert furniture assembly company that has the right tools and the proper know-how on how to use them.

#3. Experienced and Professional

05/11/2008 (Day 2.310) - Flatpack Furniture | Assembling a c… | Flickr

As a homeowner, when you are buying a piece of furniture, you hope that it will last a lifetime. But, to make sure that it does last for a lifetime, it is crucial to assemble it correctly from the beginning itself.

But, have you ever fixed a piece of furniture before? Well, if your answer is a flat no, we both know what could be the consequence. As an inexperienced assembler, you can either miss some important pieces or not fasten something tight enough.

This is why nothing beats experience when it comes to furniture assembly. These professionals deal with this type of work every day and from beds to chairs, they have set up numerous types of furniture. And, even the most complicated one is just like a breeze for them.

#4. They Provide Insurance

Simulator, Calculation, Insurance, Finance, Accounting

This is the one benefit that you don’t usually get when you are assembling the furniture yourself. But when some companies provide you with a liability insurance, you will have a peace of mind knowing that your work will be done correctly and is covered by insurance.

#5. Less Chance of Damage

File:South Coast Plaza earthquake damage in 2008.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you accidentally drop pieces or hit walls while trying to move a furniture? Countless times, isn’t it?

Now, imagine what can happen if you decide to take things in hand and assemble that brand new piece of furniture. If I could predict, I would say, catastrophe!

#6. They Will Clean up the Mess

Vacuuming, Vacuuming, Cleaning, Carpet

It’s completely normal that where drills and screws are involved, there will be sawdust and other debris. However, there are many professional furniture assembly companies that clean up the mess that they have made. Spare parts will end up in your hands and there won’t be any garbage left.

Think you might need a furniture assembler after all? Well, contact Best Furniture Assembly Pty Ltd and let them know how you can use an extra hand.

E-commerce platforms offer unlimited opportunities for small to midsize businesses to increase sales, but they are also prime targets for cybercrime and online fraud, due to their lower probability of having robust online security in place to protect customers’ payment data. Unlike major corporations who enjoy the luxury of having their own in-house IT security providers or consultants, most small and midsize e-commerces are bootstrapping their businesses on limited budgets. To make matters worse, recent studies have shown that hackers are migrating to the new automation malware trend. By automating their threat software, cybercriminals can target large swaths of e-commerces rather than attacking them one at a time.

In this article, we will look at five steps you can take to secure your e-commerce website. Starting with a classic suggestion:

Promote Good Password Hygiene

While passwords are experiencing competition from technologies such as facial recognition and multifactor authentication (MFA), they’re still the standard access keys to most software. We need passwords for every service or website we log onto. For most users, it is common practice to use the same password for multiple services. The problem with this approach is that, once the reused usernames and passwords have been taken by hackers, they can be applied to various services, leading to widespread fraud.

If your sticking to passwords on your site for the time being, remember they should require a minimum number of characters (at least six, preferably eight to 10) and use numbers and symbols. It is also advisable to force users change their passwords regularly. And if you can afford it, look into investing in two-factor authentication (2FA) from users and customers. This can ensure that users don’t rehash potentially compromised credentials, and it goes a long way towards making sure that those requesting access are who they say they are.

Use HTTPS

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the online protocol for secure communications over the internet and one of the easiest ways to help secure your e-commerce website from fraud. Designated by a closed green lock icon on the browser address bar, HTTPS websites are deemed authentic and secure because they’re certified. This means the website really is what it’s claiming to be and not a counterfeit website placed online to fool users so that bad guys can grab access credentials, credit card data, and more.

To enable HTTPS, you will need to acquire a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. Receiving an SSL certificate is the first step, this now needs to be implemented carefully in your e-commerce solution. Certain web designing and hosting companies can handle this step for you.

The advantages of using HTTPS go beyond security and trustworthiness. Google gives secure HTTPS websites a higher search ranking, leading to more visitors. Conversely, Google also labels unencrypted websites as “not secure,” which makes them appear sketchy and unsafe. These days, there’s few faster ways to get a potential customer to skip your website than to not have HTTPS

Choose a Secure E-Commerce Platform

E-commerce platforms are usually picked for their storefront-building convenience, range of design, and functionality, but security features need to be top of mind, too. Look for proven e-commerce solutions that provide encrypted payment gateways, SSL certificates, and solid authentication protocols for sellers and buyers, like Linkeo Ltd.

Don’t Store Sensitive User Data

Consumer privacy is critical in e-commerce. Businesses need customer data to improve their communications and product offerings as well as make it easy to return purchases. The danger is that website hacking, phishing, and other cyberattacks target this user data.

The first rule is to only collect data that’s useful for the purposes of fulfilling the transaction. Businesses should avoid the temptation of collecting more customer data than is absolutely necessary. This applies specifically to customer credit card information. There’s no need to store them on online servers, which can be a violation of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which serves to enforce consumer data protection in the payment card industry.

Cybercriminals and hackers can’t steal what isn’t there, so keeping the valuable personal and financial information of your users should be kept secure and off of online servers. If you have to store certain data, then make sure it’s protected in a safe, online storage repository that observes best practices when it comes to keeping information safe. This should include having stringent access controls, regular audits, and, most importantly, total data encryption.

Maintain a Security-Focused Mindset

E-commerce security is never a one-and-done deal. Threats and hacking methodologies evolve at an alarming rate, and maintaining an awareness and a security-focused mindset is the necessary preventive method. Once your e-commerce website’s security has been compromised, it is often too late. All a business can do at that point is costly and embarrassing damage control.

The real challenge for all businesses is effectively implementing e-commerce authentication and security measures in a frictionless manner so the customer experience is not impacted—and then staying on top of evolving threats without breaking the budget on security.

If you want to know more about these issues, feel free to drop us a comment below and let us know what topics you would like us to cover.

As an e-commerce, it’s almost a given that the bulk of your clients will be making payments online. Ensuring you have a working knowledge of how the payment process works is therefore vital. In this article, we will therefore be looking at a few key topics, namely: how the online payment process works, which parties need to be involved, and how much it will cost to take online payments.

The Basics

In essence, online payments work in much the same way as face-to-face payments, with a few added steps. There are a minimum of six parties involved with all online payments. The first is obviously your customer, and the second is yourself.

The ‘middlemen’, as it were, include: A payment ‘gateway’, which is a piece of software that sits behind your online shop. The gateway handles the online transaction, and then securely sends your customer’s payment information to your payment processing company who, as the name implies, handles all payment processing on your behalf. In most cases this will be your bank, although there are numerous third-party that also offer this service. You will also need to deal with the payment network which the customer’s card is linked to, e.g. Visa or PayPal. This network acts as the go-between for the customer’s and your bank.

Let’s now look at a typical online payment journey:

  1. The customer enters their payment information (e.g. debit card or PayPal details) into an online checkout form, so they can pay for something.

  2. The payment gateway securely sends that data to the payment processing company.

  3. The payment processing company then sends that data to the card scheme.

  4. The card scheme checks with the customer’s bank to see if they have enough money to make the purchase, and that the card isn’t blocked.

  5. If the payment is accepted, the money is taken from the customer’s bank account and held by the merchant’s payment processing company.

  6. The payment gateway confirms the sale to both the customer and the merchant.

  7. At the end of each trading day, the payment processing company sends the money from all the merchant’s sales to their bank account.

  8. The money normally arrives in the merchant’s bank account within 2-3 working days.

  9. The payment processing company’s fees for each sale are added to the merchant statement and are billed at the end of the month. The merchant usually pays these fees by Direct Debit.

This last part leads us quite nicely to our next point:

What Charges are Involved in Online Payment Systems?

On top of costs for setting up your website (e.g. web development, web hosting, shopping cart software and plugins), you’ll also have fees for taking payments online. The cost of taking payments online depends on several factors, including: the volume of transactions, the kinds of transactions you’ll be processing, gateway fees, and the fees your payment processing company charges. The fees and considerations generally come under the following categories:

Contract length and type: The length and type of your contract can vary. Make sure you factor in both costs as well as contract length when you’re choosing a gateway supplier.

Set-up fees: Usually a flat, one-time fee to cover the costs of setting up a new merchant account.

Gateway fees: Usually a fixed, monthly fee; plus a per-transaction fee, which might be fixed or variable. These come from your gateway provider.

Transaction fees: Also known as ‘Merchant Service Charges’, these come from your payment processing company. Each time you take a payment, you get charged a small percentage of the payment’s value. These charges can vary depending on the type of transaction (e.g. debit cards generally cost less to process than credit cards) and the volumes of transactions (higher volumes can get you cheaper rates). Transaction fees normally cover the ‘interchange fee’ that an acquirer pays for using the payment scheme’s network. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee for each refund.

Other fees: May include fees for things like: disputed cardholder transactions (also known as a chargeback), security fees, or early cancellation fees and solution modules (such as extra fraud checkers)

We hope the information in this article has proven useful in helping you understand the basics of online payment processing and what it means for your business. Here at Linkeo Ltd, we can assist you with setting up robust and easy-to-navigate payment portals as part of our web-building and hosting services. Feel free to get in touch if you have any further queries. And if you have anything you’d like to share, feel free to leave us a comment below.

Have you ever wondered why do some homeowners refinance and others do a loan modification? There might be a lot of reasons driving their decisions. In this article, we identify some of the key differences between a loan modification and a mortgage refinance. They both can be beneficial to someone with a high mortgage payment, and so they need help with one of the two options to lower their mortgage payment. They have similarities and differences alike. Let’s check them out!

A refinance simply completing the process of acquiring a new loan for financing your current mortgage. When you do a refinance, you will have to run your credit to meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for the new mortgage loan you are requesting. You will have to provide proof of employment, meet a minimum income requirement, have a good payment history, in addition to other conditions. When you refinance, you are paying off your old loan with a new loan and starting over again. You can take out equity in the property or leave it in. You can often do a 15yr or 30yr mortgage. You might want to do a refinance with a cashout and pay off another high-interest loan such as a credit card, revolving store card, other loans, finance college, buy a new car, among other things. When doing a refinance, your credit score and payment history will be weighed heavily in the final determination to grant you credit or deny you.

Most refinance will take anywhere from about 2-4 weeks to complete, and your old mortgage lender will be paid off. Homeowners will often refinance when the interest rate is at least one percentage point lower than they are currently paying. It’s good to refinance if you intend to stay in the home for at least another 5yrs. The reason why it’s not a good idea to refinance if you don’t plan on staying in the property for at least five more years is due to the fees and closing costs associated with doing a refinance. It is like getting a new loan – in fact, that is exactly what you are doing.

A loan modification is similar to a refinance because it is actually lowering your mortgage interest rate to give you lower house payment. However, there are some key differences. A loan modification is not focused on your credit score or credit history as much, if at all. Some loan modifications don’t ever check your credit history, a small number of lenders do check, but your credit is not weighed much at all for granting you a loan modification. When you do a loan modification, you will rarely get charged anything, and if you do, they are minor changes that are rolled up in the mortgage balance, unlike a refinance. Many people that apply for a loan modification are often in deep trouble with their mortgage payments. They commonly have a poor credit history and will usually not qualify for a refinance.

Not to say a refinance is better than a loan modification, but many homeowners who do a loan modification do it as a last option. Homeowners who refinance do it because they choose, and they can try to use their good credit history to their advantage by getting a lower mortgage payment. Ironically, a refinance and a loan modification will often give you a much lower mortgage interest rate over your initial interest rate. Yet, the requirements for getting them can be so different. One of the disadvantages of a modification is not having a cash-out option whenever the homeowner does it; With a refinance, a cash-out possibility exists. Once the loan is modified, the loan will start over again, with good credit reporting showing up with the credit bureaus.

So you are having to pay the closing cost that will take a few years to recover from before you actually start seeing some actual savings. You will not need to refinance if you are not going to get a lower interest rate of at least 1 point. It would not be worth it in the short term. If you need to cash out without refinancing or selling the property, you might want to consider a Home Equity Line Of Credit(HELOC). It’s like a kind of revolving credit that your home serves as collateral for that loan. You can get access to the funds all at once or over some time. So keep in mind that it is not so much whether you did a loan modification or a refinance because the results are often very similar. The key is to get your mortgage payment lower. Get in touch with the professionals at DLC ESTATE MORTGAGES for all your mortgage needs in

 

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